This past weekend I went along on the retreat of a college leadership honor society called ODK. I had the honor of serving as president of the group while I was in school, and they invited me to spend some time and give a short talk at the end of the weekend. My assignment: tell a bit about me, what I’m up to these days, and relate it back to this semester’s assigned reading for ODK: Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination. Since my book review today corresponds, I thought I would share my cartoons from the weekend. [Make no mistake, this is hardly original work – it is derived from Hugh MacLeod’s cartoons and it is not intended to serve as original thought or attributed exclusively to me. So, thanks Hugh for the inspiration!]
I’ve shared all about my ‘Evil Plan‘ over the past week here on the blog. This was my cover slide.
In Evil Plans, Hugh tells a story about military officers who come straight out of the academies and are immediately put in command of a group of older, more experienced men. It is a difficult situation to be placed in, and at some point the young officers have ‘their moment’ when they start acting and leading like the officer they are. Hugh then transfers that story to all of us by saying that we all have a moment when we decide to grow up, decide to start leading, decide to go after our passion.
As described in My Story, my first moment occurred on the evening I was arrested for my poor decisions. It was a turning point in my life when I made the decision to start growing up and to stop being somebody I wasn’t.
My Moment: Part II. Not only did I have one moment during my early undergraduate years… I also had a very recent moment. As you can see in the cartoon, I came to this revolutionary, unconventional realization (fueled by great thinkers and new ideas). My cubicle and my conventional job – they were safe, they were comfortable, they resulted in a good pay-check, and I was slowly losing my sense of passion, purpose, and dreaming. That was the moment when I knew I had to correct my course and go after something big.
The evening before my last day at work, we celebrated my brother’s birthday with family. At the time, my uncle sat down next to me, looked at me and said: “So… you’re unemployed.” Of course, he was kidding and he is incredibly supportive in reality. However, the point was made – many people will think of me as unemployed. Me? I just know I have an Evil Plan.
You may have noticed the new tag line for my blog: Live your values. Embrace your passions. Dream Big. Change the world. This is the first part of the whole idea: to know myself, to know what my life’s work should be, for anything else to matter, I need to know my values. That is what I believe. It starts with values.
Hugh has this one section in the book where he talks about ‘Wakers.’ I loved it. I think it directly aligns with passion. Because those people that know their passion, pursue their passion, and spread their passion…. They just might make you do crazy-ass things… In a good way.
This is the third part of my tag line. How big can you dream? Do you dream? I was being sucked into a world where dreams sounded like: ‘I want to become a partner in less than 10 years.’ ‘I want to create strategy for Fortune 50 companies.’ ‘I want to drive an Audi S5 once I make it to the top.’ Yikes. Those aren’t my dreams. (I still wouldn’t mind having fun in an S5, to be fair.) So, how big can you dream? Anything is possible… But we have to dream it first.
The fact of the matter is… Changing the world is a decision. It is a decision to define our values and live by them. It is a decision to embrace our passions and pursue them relentlessly. It is a decision to DREAM big every single day… And then to believe our dreams can happen. That is what it means to change the world. The funny thing is: I truly believe my earning potential has skyrocketed since I stopped pursuing something other than my passion. This is all about the mastery of purpose. Your purpose. Let’s change the world.
I realize that this all sounds good, but it is incredibly intangible. There are very few resources and very few ideas being spread in our schools to embed this type of thinking in young people in college students. So I am setting out to create a ten session curriculum to do exactly that. I have made it my mission to create a proven, inspiring 10-step process to help individuals through my tag line. It is important. The world needs it. I don’t want another person to live somebody else’s life by working somebody else’s dream job.
This is a nearly exact copy of one of Hugh’s cartoons. I couldn’t put it any better myself, so I just attributed it to Hugh because he has great ideas. I believe this: as long as you feel inspired and passionate, then your life is being well spent. What do you think?
This brings me to the most important question I can ask of every single person I encounter. Are you in? Or out? Are you ready to embrace your passion? To throw off the ropes and explore your dreams? To find your way to change the world? It might be that you already are – and if so, I think that is awesome. And if you’re not, that’s ok too! Maybe you are a college student in the middle of the process – and this message will reach you just in time. Maybe your current job is a perfect way to do it. Or maybe it will require a big change. No matter. I just want to know: Are you in?
I love the quote that inspired this final thought. A friend of mine told me about it, and I went online to find its origins. Turns out a guy name Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said this: “You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” You’ll notice, of course, that I adapted the quote a bit and turned it into an equation. My girlfriend suggested an updated version of the equation that I really like… You in 10 years = You now + Books + People. I like that adaptation because it eliminates the (-) in the equation. But the essence remains the same. Books and people can change our lives. Our job is to choose which ones we allow to do so.
I am excited to hear your thoughts on my talk, my cartoons, Hugh MacLeod’s book, the influences mentioned or any other thoughts this post invokes. Please share in the comments section – let’s have a conversation!